Dance Forms of Kerala

Beautified with bountiful of nature’s beauty and architectural masterpieces of yesteryears, Kerala is a wonderful holiday destination of India. This coastal state of India is enriched with rich cultural heritage which can be easily witnessed in its various dance forms. These dance styles of Kerala are old and has a history over 500 years ago.

Kerala dances can be classifieds into three types namely folk dance, classical and semi-classical dance. Some of the excellent dance forms of Kerala are as follows

Kathakali: Kathakali is a classical dance of Kerala. It is a theatrical dance which is a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. Kathakali is nearly a 300 year old dance form which has evolved form performing arts like Kootiyattam and Ramanattam. It has now qualified as a universal art form. In past, it was performed only in temple premise but now it is open to all. Kathakali events are performed throughout the year.

Mohiniyattam – Mohiniyattam is a semi-classical dance form performed mainly by the ladies. Mohiniyattam which literally means “dance of the celestial enchantress”, is an amalgamation of Bharathnatyam as well as the classical and folk dances of the state. This dance is usually performed as a solo dance.

Chakiar koothu – It is one of the ancient socia-religious arts of Kerala, which is performed mainly in the ‘Koothambalams’ or the ‘Koothuthara’ of temples, either independently or as a part of Koottiyattam. This dance form is famous for its comic elements, mime and satire.

Oppanna – It is a dance form which is usually performed by the relatives of a bride during a Muslim wedding. Muslim ladies of Malabar region sing and dance around the bride, clapping their hands. The wedding songs are first sung by the leader and are repeated by the chorus. This wedding song is known as “Mappila Pattu”. The themes of these songs are mainly teasing and commenting related to nuptial bliss of the bride.

Velakkali – Velakkali is a marital dance form performed in some of the south Kerala temples by Nair warriors holding their wooden swords and shields. It is one of the main attraction of Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple festival of Alappuzha district.

These are some interesting dance forms of Kerala which reflects the rich culture of the state.

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